NFL veteran Ryan Russell published an emotional open letter this week coming out to fans as bisexual.

Russell, who was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys and has also played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, told ESPN, where the letter was first published, that he has always been “grateful for being bisexual” because he knows some gay men who cannot “throw off other people” by having relationships with women. 

However, after the death of a friend in 2018, he said he "realized kind of how fragile life was," and the decision to be fully open "made itself."


“Have I lied to teammates, coaches, trainers, front-office executives and fans about who I am? Not exactly. But withholding information is a form of deceit. And I want the next part of my career — and life — steeped in trust and honesty. During the season you spend more time with your team than with your own family; truth and honesty are the cornerstones of a winning culture,” Russell, who is currently a free agent, wrote in the letter.

“My truth is that I'm a talented football player, a damn good writer, a loving son, an overbearing brother, a caring friend, a loyal lover, and a bisexual man,” he continued. 

Russell said he wanted to come out as part of the LGBTQ community publicly because “there isn't a single openly LGBTQ player in the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball or the NHL.

“I want to change that — for me, for other athletes who share these common goals, and for the generations of LGBTQ athletes who will come next.”

Russell also said he always considered himself to have two separate worlds, one for football and one for his personal life. He was once spotted by a blogger in the Instagram story of a man he was dating, and the blogger promised to “grant me this favor” and not share his sexuality.

“Nobody should need a favor to live honestly. In nobody's worlds should being careful mean not being yourself. The career you choose shouldn't dictate the parts of yourself that you embrace,” Russell wrote.

He added that, although he used to pray for God “to take away this part of me,” he now believes “the best version of myself, the best partner, the best friend, the best teammate, is one that's open and honest.”

“There are a lot of problems in the world, and a lot of issues facing the NFL. And I can say with confidence that LGBTQ players having the comfort to be themselves, date who they want, share parts of their life with friends and teammates will not rank among those issues,” Russell wrote.